Sunday, January 20, 2013

Leading in a Learner Centered Environment

The Persian poet, Rumi, wrote, "A story is like the water you heat for your bath.  It takes messages between the fire and your skin.  It lets them meet and it cleans you."  How many actually take the simple value of a story to this level of intimacy?  Jim Trelease (2001) in his book, "The Read Aloud Handbook", wrote that we have lost our love for print.  In fact, people read less frequently and with less passion.  Where once a relationship existed between a reader and the lingo of literacy, television and video games have replaced the melody of words.  McCombs and Miller (2009), while they don't discuss the relationship between stories and readers, they do discuss the delicate balance between learning and leading.  They refer to it as, "an ecologically interdependent system(s) of networks and relationships" (p. 42).  Leadership takes people who are "authentically committed to putting learners and learning at the core of schooling...resulting in a community of learners" (p. 42).  It takes exceptional leadership focused on creating "a community of relationships" through supportive efforts to spark transformational and meaningful change. Educators are having to learn what it means to lead in a culture of change.  Boyle (as cited by McCombs and Miller, 2009) wrote it takes leaders who have the ability to build capacity and exercise emotional intellegience.  Cushman (as cited by McCombs and Miller, 2009) wrote students want "teachers who respect them and their needs" and "a sense of agency, purpose, and meaning that will help them with the major task of adolescence-forming a personal identity and sense of purpose" (p. 80). The 21st Century has been a challenging period for educational leaders who must make both the needs of the teacher and the student a priority while possessing a geniune humbleness to nurture and value the significance of learning.  Learning is like the water you heat for your bath.  And, a good leader always runs a perfect bath.  

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